Instead of Flowers, Give Your Beau These Useful Houseplants

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and that just means one thing — flower prices are on the rise.

Call me unromantic, but there are only a few things your beau can do with your $99 bouquet. Either dry it and display it in their home or discard it when it wilts. Those beautiful blooms probably have pesticides to keep them pretty anyway, so please don’t offer them to your pet rabbit or use the petals as a garnish on your cake.

As a champion of practicality, may I so daringly suggest that you present your beau with something more useful this 14 February. Something that can stay in the home, hopefully, develop their nurturing instincts, and continue to fill their lives with joy — and even good health.

Why not give your significant other a plant with benefits? Plus, houseplants are usually a fraction of the price of a bouquet! Here are some suggestions:

Golden Pothos aka Money Plant

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This is my go-to houseplant. It’s cheap (just $2 for a small pot), super easy to maintain (just needs watering once a week) and hardy (mine survived a bug infestation). It doesn’t need a lot of sunlight, so if your home faces away from the sun, that doesn’t bother good ol’ pothos.

If your partner is into aesthetics, don’t fret. Try to pick those with variegated leaves — the golden streaks are really gorgeous up close — and you can dress up the pot with some shiny crepe paper and a fancy ribbon.

In any case, the benefits should outweigh everything else: Golden pothos can purify the air of benzene, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.

Snake Plant aka Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

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No, there’s nothing vaguely reptilian or overbearing about this houseplant. I’d also like to take the opportunity to say that my mother-in-law is big-hearted and she’s nothing like the stereotype. But yes, just like how this plant got its nicknames, my MIL is one strong woman.

Also known as sansevieria, this plant thrives in a tiny pot. It can also survive in low-light conditions, neglect and your absent-minded (oops) or constantly jetsetting other half. 

You might want to tell your beau to keep this plant in the bedroom. The snake plant converts carbon dioxide to oxygen at night and also purifies the air of toxins. 

Here’s a fun fact: NASA conducted a clean air study in 1989, and the snake plant was shown to remove toxins such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air.

Anthurium aka Flamingo Lily

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From a certain angle, the anthurium’s crimson leaf (yes, that’s a leaf) looks like a heart shape. The actual flowers are really tiny and are found growing on the spike-shaped spadix.

This ornamental plant looks good in any home. It also adds a pop of colour to an empty corner and brightens up any shelf. According to Feng Shui, anthuriums are also symbols of luck, happiness and are said to boost feelings of love or friendship. Score!

In addition, its dark leaves purify the air of ammonia, toluene, xylene, and formaldehyde… toxic fumes emitted by printers, adhesives, and photocopiers.

Hedera Helix aka English Ivy

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You’ll probably want to prepare a trellis of some sort or a hanging basket to welcome the English ivy into your home. Because, man, can this vine climb!

In colder, drier climes, the English Ivy will need more moisture and care. In humid Singapore, make sure the plant doesn’t get too wet, as that can cause root rot and bacterial leaf spot.

For what it’s worth, this plant sports some good looks. Depending on the variety, the leaves can be green with white veins, all white, or carry some gold streaks. It also purifies the air of benzene, xylene, formaldehyde, and toluene; some say that it may even help to reduce mould in your home.

Chlorophytum aka Spider Plant

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Good news if your other half is an animal lover. The spider plant is safe for pets, so you can put it just about anywhere in your home without worrying about Fido munching on the leaves.

For lazy or time-strapped gardeners such as myself, the spider plant needs watering just once a week. And it’s easily portable from the office to any space in the home, as it can survive in artificial lighting conditions or places with moderate light. But if you want to turn up the contrast and colour of the leaves, keep this plant in a brightly-lit area.

Keep the spider plant close, for it purifies the air of formaldehyde, xylene and carbon monoxide. Its quiet presence might even help to decrease your stress levels, increase productivity and generally help you feel happier.

Note: Although these plants have health benefits, some might be toxic when consumed. The sap might also cause irritation.

This article was written by Mary Wu, who hopes to share what she's learnt from her home-buying and renovation journey with PropertyGuru readers. When she's not writing, she's usually baking up a storm or checking out a new cafe in town.

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